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Updated Oct 7, 2013 - 4:57 pm

Construction of Arizona World War II Memorial on schedule

PHOENIX -- Arizona's World War II memorial is on pace to be ready for its opening in December.

Workers spent Saturday morning moving the gun barrels of the USS Arizona and USS Missouri into place in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza near the Arizona State Capitol.

The work to get them here started three years ago when Secretary of State Ken Bennett -- who was then the president of the Arizona Senate -- learned that the gun barrels were just lying in storage.

"I suggested that we would get one (gun barrel) from the Missouri, and the last remaining one from the Arizona, and we put them out here to represent the bookends of the war -- the beginning and the end," Bennett said.

The U.S.'s involvement in World War II started with Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Japanese war planes bombed the Arizona ship, causing it to sink. The War ended with the Japanese signing documents of surrender on the deck of the Missouri in 1945.

The Navy agreed with Bennett's plan, and gave the gun barrels to Arizona.

Both barrels are now in position, pointing east. They are situated on the memorial, in between the Arizona's anchor to the east, and its masthead on the west.

But those are just part of the memorial.

"In between the two gun barrels are nine steel pillars that represent the nine minutes that it took for the Arizona to sink," said Bennett. "On the sides of those steel pillars hang about 2,000 individual nameplates, one each for the 2,000 Arizonans who were killed during World War II in all of the different branches of the military."

Bennett said that you can add your personal touch to the memorial by buying a memorial paver that will be placed at the base of the guns.

"Families or individuals can purchase a paver," Bennett said. "You get so many lines of text on each paver. You can honor a family member or put your name or say, 'Thank you all veterans.'"

A dedication will take place when the memorial is fully unveiled on Dec. 7, which is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Click here for more information or to purchase a memorial paver.

In the video below, Matthew Roberts of the Arizona Secretary of State's office explains some of the items that have been added to the World War II memorial.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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